Tag Archives: Lifecartographer

Life is not school. Life Lesson #26

Life is not school.

“Man, I got in trouble for that one.” A friend told me about something he was called onto the carpet for at work. Really? In trouble? Define that, will ya?

School, particularly the western model, begins around age 5 with kindergarden. For a minimum of the next 13 years, and often longer if college and post-grad are undertaken, we are graded on everything from attendance to attitude to academic aptitude. There’s a measuring stick. Don’t do it right, and you’ll get sent to the principle’s office, or head master, or dean, or whomever.

That mentality is carried over into adult life. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t being graded for most of what I did. Sure, there are performance reviews, sure there are promotions, but beyond that, most of life is not graded. Life is meant to be lived.

What makes a great dad? The scale and definition is as unique as the individual being parented. What makes a good husband, friend, employee?

In school, you don’t get graded on loyalty, or innovation, or character. You get graded on spitting back certain content, and perhaps at more advanced institutions, correctly discerning authorial intent, and discerning patterns. The fields are endless and so are the measuring sticks.

You’ll never be graded on a walk in the park, or enjoying a sunset, or standing in awe of seeing your first elephant in the wild, or holding your first child with tears flowing down your cheeks.

Life is not school. The most beautiful moments are rarely graded. They are lived.